If you follow Shadetek’s blog you know we have been thinking alot about digital marketing, how to monetize content, and keep making the music that we love. It has been a busy winter for DA, we linked with Leeor from Friends of Friends PR to help amplify and sharpen our message, Jace and I started to engineer Beyond Digital, a non-profit that funds international arts residencies and interventions, we joined forces with Emeka Alams from Gold Cost for a capsule line (and that’s just a taste of the plans that are not TOP SECRET, SECRET OR CONFIDENTIAL). Just to keep things hectic I moved to Kingston, AKA HUSTLE UNIVERSITY, where even the kid that opens the gate is just waiting to play you his newest riddims off a usbstick. MOVE QUICKLY AND GET WEIRD. Mine deep for the magic cambio strategy that converts cultural capital to liquid capital fast enough to keep us all eating.

With that in mind, I reached out in December to Stephanie Brown about an interview. She’s a Digital Marketing Manager for a major label in Canada. I wanted to know more about what exactly her job entailed- and what bets the people with the money and infrastructure are making on how to sell content. #realtalk bizness

T: As a Digital Marketing Manager for a major Label in Canada, what exactly are you responsible for?

S: I direct strategy for marketing our artists online in Canada. When we have an album coming out, marketing managers will meet with me to discuss what sort of promotional support we can give the release online, and where to best spend their ad dollars. The idea is to create awareness and hype about the artist by placing content on the entertainment and music sites that will get the greatest visibility in Canada. So, when the album finally drops, audiences will recognize the artist and hopefully be inclined to buy the album. I manage relationships with a number of partner sites who use our content from our artists (electronic press kits, interviews, etc) to support their editorial coverage, which is really a win-win situation. Additionally, I plan social media promos & contests, aid with online ad buys, and oversee our direct-to-consumer marketing channels.

T: Social media seems to be most powerful when an artist is directly communicating with fans- but obviously most big label social media is not being generated directly by the artist – who actually is sitting on the computer updating each artists facebook, myspace, etc- do you guys have back end access that streamlines all of this stuff?

S: We monitor our artist’s social media platforms in terms of numbers, just to see who’s gaining momentum. But aside from that, artist management is typically responsible for updating those properties. We offer suggestions, but the decision lies ultimately in the hands of management. For some of our domestic artists, we’ll post news and happenings on their Facebook and Twitter pages if we’re requested to do so. We’re always transparent about it, so we sign off on our posts as “Team” whoever. Many artists actually do post themselves, or work closely with their managers to establish their digital identity.

T: How is the balance understood between digital and more traditional marketing? Are marketing plans all done holistically or is digital and traditional really heavily divided?

S: The digital element of marketing plans is undoubtedly an important facet, but it is typically independent from television, print and radio. It’s always a point of reference, because we want to ensure that the messaging is cohesive across all mediums, but it’s still its own world. However, if we wanted to run an online promo on a large scale, we’d be sure to support it with traditional marketing. Those promos are typically those with a big budget and a kickass prize-like a meet and greet with an A-list artist in Australia, for example. The submissions would be collected and shared online, but we’d use print, radio, and TV to direct people to the contest website. Otherwise, a portion of the total marketing budget will simply be allotted to online, and then it’s up to me and the digital team to direct where to best spend it.

T:Where do you see digital marketing moving in the next few years?

S: We’re going to have to come up with more creative ways of engaging audiences and inviting them to interact with ads and promotions online. QR codes, for example, will continue to grow in popularity, because they allow the public to access further related content simply by scanning the code with their smart phones. Lately, we’ve been placing QR codes on posters and having them link to music videos. You may see a billion banner ads a day, but will only click on them if the ad itself is compelling or offers you some sort of experience for doing so. We need all of our ads to be click-worthy. Social media will continue to be of gargantuan importance, and I think you’ll see more apps and promos inviting people to share their experiences in the moment, rather than as an afterthought. I was at a DJ Shadow show a few months back, and the US team had created an app for iPhone where you could upload pics and talk to other people in the crowd right then and there. Mobile marketing is an ever growing industry, so it’s really about honing on the new technologies available and marketing music directly into people’s pockets.

T: How do you measure success in digital marketing?

S: Success, as in all areas of marketing, is best measured by sales. Advertisements, promos, radio play, video spins, interviews, etc. are essential in establishing recognition in the marketplace, but if that recognition doesn’t generate income, then we haven’t done our job right. However, success in developing that recognition can be measured in a variety of ways. To me, effective digital marketing is best measured by how many people are talking about a particular album, artist, or promo online. Word of mouth is undoubtedly the world’s most powerful marketing too. Tweets, blog posts, comments, status updates, and ‘likes’ are good indicators of how much interest is being generated, and we can then analyze that info to determine what worked and what didn’t. But the bottom line is, if it don’t make dollars, it don’t make sense ;)

T: How exactly do you analyze this sort of activity?

S: There’s a wide range of software tools available for organizations that wish to monitor social buzz. There are free web services that anyone can use, such as Twazzup which make it easy to search for a particular word or hashtag being used on Twitter. You can then view insights related to that search, which will show you things like link popularity and who your users are. If you’re looking for a more robust analysis of the social media realm, there are all-encompassing programs, like Radian 6, which can track online discussions across all platforms. I’d assume is probably quite costly, but for organizations who want to understand more about their consumers, it’s an extremely valuable tool. It shows you what people really think about your brand and business, so you can address the areas of weakness and can hone in on strengths. Conversations are being had online and influencing purchase decisions every day, and never before have we been able to access these conversations in their most honest form.

We don’t yet use social media monitoring software at my office, but I think it’s something important to adopt as we move into the next generation of music marketing. If we have the ability to monitor what’s being said about a particular artist in the social media world, we have the great potential to learn more about who is consuming this music & how they choose to consume it. This information will undoubtedly spawn better informed marketing strategies and initiatives. Check out this quick overview of Radian 6, and just imagine what it could do for record labels and businesses in general.


Stephanie has also been kind enough to agree to field interviews from readers- if you have any further questions- just leave a comment and she’ll give you a response.


  1. I am in the beginning stages of building a social media marketing team and have found that, in terms of manpower, it gets a bit confusing when you have various accounts to handle. How do you organize your accounts in relation to your team? Does the whole team work on all the accounts? Do you assign a specific number of people to each account? Thank you!

  2. Yeah, we’ve found that it’s easier if we assign people to manage specific accounts. If there are too many hands in the pot, it becomes difficult to maintain a cohesive voice. It’s important that audiences come to know what sort of tone & information they can expect from a particular profile.

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